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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jan 11, 2011 3:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

This is laughable. Has anyone audited the current amount of petroleum derived energy against the amount of solar generation capability required?

Three things come to mind - Time, Scale and Cost.

Q1: Is there enough time to replace petro derived energy with solar?

A1: Assuming you want uninterrupted levels of energy, the answer is a resounding NO.

Q2: Can solar be implemented on sufficient scale to replace petro derived energy?

A2: Absolutely not. Being generous with advances in solar power technology wrt power generation density we would need thousands of square miles of panels - which are constructed from petroleum products. Not In My Backyard flies out the window - instead we have "Not In My Kansas/Nebraska/Oklahoma"

Q3: Can we implement appropriately scaled solar power generation to replace petro derived energy generation in time to ensure uninterrupted levels of energy generation and consumption at reasonable cost/expense?

A3: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

I will either update the thread or edit my post with links to supporting sites for anyone who cares.

This post was modified by Mandojammer on 2011-01-11 23:08:23

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Jan 12, 2011 7:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Keep Plugging Away

Fully agree. Currently there is no technology that can ever fully replace petro-based sources. Expanded development can, however, reduce the amount used at least somewhat. Whether or not serious funding will ever be allocated to this problem has yet to be seen. I, the pragmatist, feel it may only occur when Senator Oil Company hops in his Escalade, turns the key and nothing happens. And another huge problem not getting alot of press is what are we going to do about good ol' H2O? The supply is also finite and sources of fresh water are getting harder and harder to come by and demand is rising exponentially, especially in developing countries.
It's like my geology professor used to say: To think that we can destroy the planet is rather pretentious. The earth survived well before we showed up, and will continue to do so well after we're gone (at least until the Sun decides to go boom). We can, however, take ourselves entirely out of the equation quite easitly.

Sorry, I'll try to lighten it up for my next post. Perhaps I'll tie the eco trend to some of the folks here. Which reminds me, I read a study that the rising levels of methane in the atmosphere as the result of increased livestock (sheep and cows primarily) population have shown a sudden drop over the UK and southwestern Massachusetts. Apparently something (or someone) has been doing an excellent job of plugging up a large number of the methane
produdcers.

Rob? Dire? Your thoughts?

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2011-01-12 15:25:32

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jan 12, 2011 7:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keep Plugging Away

That could be a growth industry.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Jan 12, 2011 7:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keep Plugging Away

Excellent.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jan 11, 2011 3:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Nuclear if we want our gadgets, big and small.
And I don't think people will ever give up their gadgets.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Jan 11, 2011 5:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

IMO, construction of more nuclear plants while we still can't figure out what to do with the wastes generated from currently operating facilities is totally irresponsible.

Furthermore, the supply of radioactive fuel is limited on this planet.

Future energy needs will be met by an integration of solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc as fossil fuels and nuclear generating facilities are slowly brought out of commission. My guess at a timescale would be 100 years for this transition to take place.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jan 12, 2011 7:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

dp -

100 years is by most estimates far too generous. Today, 50% of our energy generation is from oil. Add in natural gas and those two account for 75% of ourr energy generation. You would need to increase solar output 2000 times its current level just to match. Nuclear would need to increase 750 times current levels. Where do the materials to construct this infrastructure come from? Where do we build them? What is the environmental impact, etc., etc., etc.

Oil discovery peaked in 1964 - Peak Oil. In short, there is no more oil to be discovered. There is oil left, but this needs to be looked at in an entirely different, more inclusive light than what the industry and our government is telling us.

What we have left is the "hard oil". All of the "easy" oil has been pumped out of the ground. When the first Saudi wells were sunk the oil practically flowed out of the ground under its own pressure. Now we/they are injecting water into the existing fields to establish a 35 psi pressure head just so we can pump what's left. We are at or past Peak Oil Extraction, conservative estimates put that happened between 2003-2006. What that means is that about half the oil has been extracted - the "easy" oil. The "hard" oil is left.

That is pretty much the case all over the world regarding existing fields. So now the oil companies are going back with "new" techniques to extract what's left. Slant drilling, deeper wells, offshore, fracking, tar sands, shale oil extraction are just a few that come to mind. None of these techniques are finding new oil - they are extracting what was left, the stuff that wasn't easy to pump out.

Here's the rub. A lot of the development of these techniques only looked at the dollar costs involved with extraction. If oil is above $80/bbl it will be COST effective and profitable to pump it out using tar sands extraction techniques (the $$ numbers are notional, I only used tar sands to illustrate the point). From that perspective, there will always be oil - it may cost $500 to extract a barrel of oil from 45,000 feet down using lasers mounted on land sharks, but the cost of a barrel of oil to the consumer will be astronomical. But there will be oil - for awhile.

You can't look at it in terms of cost alone anymore. It has to be looked at in terms of an Energy Return On Energy Investment EROEI. How much energy am I expending to extract the oil? Back in the hey day of Jed Clampett shooting holes in the ground and oil bubbling up, the energy input was a fraction of what it is today. You could extract about 33 barrels of oil for a barrel's worth of energy input. Today it's down to about 3 barrels extracted for a barrel's worth of energy input.

You could argue that technological improvements in extraction techniques could restore some of this margin, but all that does is kick the can down the road. It does nothing to solve the very real and hard fact that THERE IS NO MORE OIL!

So what's going to happen? Think of all of the things dependent on petro energy. You have the obvious ones like heating and electricity. Look around your desk right now - I would be willing to bet that 3/4s of the stuff on it are plastics or some derivative form of petroleum. How about your local grocery store? Most grocery stores do Just In Time stocking. Where do those grapes come from? Chile, California? I shake my head every time I go into the grocery store and look at "fresh" avocados - just in from California. How much oil energy was expended to get that fresh avocado from California to Virginia just so some fat ass could have fresh guacamole on hand as he/she sits on the couch and morphs into a giant eyeball and thumb.

How much is that avocado going to cost when oil is $400/bbl? Will that avocado even be in the stores? What happens when food is only delivered once a week because the shipping companies can't afford the oil to run their fleet of trucks or there is no oil to fuel them? Or both?

Our society is addicted to oil and most people can't even grasp the extent of their dependency. Our nation's growth, and the growth of most developed countries exploded to the upside because of cheap, abundant petro energy. Economic growth is fueled (no pun intended) by consumption of excess energy and excess resources. Neither energy or resources exist in excess today.

Yet our government wants a return to economic growth???? Astoundingly fucking stupid idea if you ask me.

What we need is a top to bottom review of our nation's energy policies. We need for real, no shit investment in promising technologies - not to create jobs, but to slow down the 100,000 pounds of steel (see I worked in a Dead reference, even though the song sucks so bad it could start a Harley from 500 yards) train wreck headed at us unchecked.

Here are a couple of more numbers to chew on. 91-86-90.

The US has 91 days of oil stored. 86 million barrels of oil are consumed each day. 90% of the world's oil reserves are unaudited.

Let's break it down some - the US consumes 17-20 million barrels per day. Stated differently, 4.5% of the world's population consumes between 20 and 23% of the world's oil!?!? Hurrah for our team............

This links to a video by Steve Crower. Steve is an Energy Investment Banker - I think there is a lot of good info in the clip, but my only criticism is that Steve is still looking at Peak Oil from a cost and profit margin perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDIYgG0gSiY

What does it all mean?

1. There is no more oil to be discovered. New oil is not being produced or formed.
2. What's left is getting harder and harder to extract.
3. World energy demand is growing.
4. New energy technology is not growing at a commensurate pace.
5. Existing alternative energy sources/technologies cannot be brought on line in sufficient Time, on a sufficient Scale and at reasonable Cost to replace our current petro derived energy production and consumption.
5. There will be disruptions and we all will be affected.

Depending on your perspective, the beauty of all of this is even if we do nothing to come up with a solution, the problem is going to manifest itself and we are then going to have to come up with a solution. That solution will be untenable for most. How many people are ready for a systemic shock to their lifestyle?

Yawn, I'll think about that as soon as Jersey Shore is over...............

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Jan 12, 2011 10:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

denali_logo.png

350 ppm is the most important number in the world. It's what scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.The oceans on Earth have warmed way too quickly. Ice is melting too rapidly. Droughts are spreading more widely. Downpours and flooding are more frequent. We are having climate-driven freak blizzards, snow-storms, ice-storms, wind-storms, and tornadoes. Our forests are dying from climate-driven predator infestations.

After leading climatologists observed rapid ice melt in the Arctic and other frightening signs of climate change, they issued a series of studies showing that the planet faced both human and natural disaster if atmospheric concentrations of CO2 remained above 350 parts per million.

Everyone from Al Gore to the U.N.’s top climate scientist has now embraced this goal as necessary for stabilizing the planet and preventing complete disaster. Now the trick is getting our leaders to pay attention and craft policies that will put the world on track to get to 350.

Because we’ve burned so much fossil fuel, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has risen rapidly to 390 ppm. This is very unnatural because it's rising way too quickly. To bring that number down, the first task is to stop putting so much carbon into the atmosphere. That means a much faster transition to sun and wind and other renewable forms of power. If we can stop pouring more carbon into the atmosphere, then forests and oceans will slowly suck some of it out of the air and return us to safer levels.

It means using much less fossil fuel - much more quickly - than governments and corporations have been planning. Nations, corporations, rich people, and world leaders are not planning to do enough. But we the people can change that -- if we mobilize the world to swift and bold climate action. There is a worldwide movement building for this. Visit the 350.org website.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 12, 2011 11:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Socialist and/or Facist control of the people is the real answer to control who you believe to be polluters under yours and Al's climate model and all the scientists without a political agenda.

To control and re-educate the masses, will help the cause. They know man can stabilize the planet by controling our evil polluting ways. Democracy and it's evil empires of pollution! MAN can be like God too!

Past radical climate changes, not withstanding. I only wish that I could have been there to control the weather!
But now, we can all be like redeeming gods, to rid the earth of our evil man-made pollution. Hate and lie mongers like Brian Sussman, author of the book ClimateGate >> http://www.theclimategatebook.com/about-the-book/overview/

Spreading lie's like this >>

"IN CLIMATEGATE YOU WILL DISCOVER:

How science has been willingly corrupted by activists with Ph.D.s

Who stands to make billions of dollars off the global warming scam

What really has happened, is happening and will happen with the earth’s climate

Why political leaders and government bureaucrats are determined to limit the amount of energy available to the people

How the United Nation’s policies are driving U.S. environmental law

How you can confidently argue against the popular notions used to further claims of global climate change

FOR SHAME!!

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 12, 2011 11:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

but solar power is good - I approve, and now, safe nuclear power is even better (clouds & nitetime don't get in the way). Many contries use safe Nuclear power. It also runs ships and planes :-P

China's on board, aye? (but then again, they are not stupid-they play us like the dumbfucks we are)

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jan 12, 2011 12:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

I'm not so sure who the dumbfucks are in that exchange. They are addicted to our debt in exchange for their stuff. Why would they accept purchase of our debt knowing it can't be paid off, unless.................

They accept our fiat currency in exchange for their crap because their economy implodes if they don't?

and,

We accept their purchase of our debt in the form of T Bills because the dollar collapses and our economy implodes if we don't?

Who's gonna blink first?

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jan 12, 2011 1:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

That is one of the pivot points.
Neither ought cast that first stone. Both houses are made of increasingly thin glass.
Regardless, that glass is getting so thin and with so much weight bearing down already...

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Poster: rastamon Date: Jan 13, 2011 12:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

aha...UNLESS! my major paranoia!
Red China, bent on world domination! iiieeeeee!

we should have let General McCarthur have his way in Korea
oh well.

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Poster: cosmic charlie dupree Date: Jan 12, 2011 11:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Mando - great post. I really appreciate your perspective. Next on my reading list is the T. Boone Pickens book, which I'm sure will be another side of the story. I picked it mainly because I'm interested in his life story, but also to learn one perspective on the energy crisis (fully expecting his perspective to be heavily biased, or course!). I find it's really hard to find good honest info on the macro situation we're in, so I appreciate your attempts to do just that. As you pointed out, one way or another, the situation will resolve itself....

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jan 11, 2011 6:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

The pace of innovation is unknowable due to the sheer computing power we as humans wield now. Think of how killer superconductivity could be, for example. Well, closer to it at least.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Jan 11, 2011 9:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Good point... according to Ray Kurzweil, computers will be faster than the human brain by 2020.

Makes me even more hopeful about clean energy tech becoming more affordable and efficient in the near future. For the same reason, PERHAPS they will figure out what to do with spent nuclear fuel but I don't think it is worth the risk to invest in more nuclear power.

Of course, as Mandojammer pointed out, renewable tech uses petroleum products in production it's not all good on that front either. At this point in the evolution of civilization, no solution will be clear of issues.

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Poster: jerrys beard Date: Jan 12, 2011 5:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

It took me awhile to track down the post to which you were replying (I didn't want to end my sentence with a preposition, hence the awkward construction-please take note Rob).

All excellent and correct points. Living in an area with a minimum of 300 days per year of uninterrupted sunlight and wind of 20 or more mph (welcome to the desert folks!), it seems that a combination of solar and wind in both residential and commercial applications could reduce dependency on public utilities, hopefully reducing the carbon footprint and my monthly bill.

A wise application of solar, wind and other "green" approaches to energy shouldn't be viewed as a total replacement for petroleum, but as a reduction where appropriate. This allows the development of other non-petroleum energy sources, including nuclear.

Obviously, solutions to our current dependence on petroleum based energy are much more complex than can be solved here, but these are my little thoughts.

On a music related note, some new show on TV (one that I can't remember), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are featured as the backing music. I downloaded the set you taped at Mountain Jam last year and have been thoroughly enthralled with the band ever since. Many thanks for that!

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 11, 2011 5:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Whoops--replied to your post without realizing you replied to me first...just a note to explain I largely was responding to the more esoteric notion of "visual degradation" and assuming you're going to go this route as part of your overall energy program, where should you place them...rather than the larger issue you rightfully take up, as to whether it can work as a true alternative to oil, etc. (which at present parameters, it cannot).

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 11, 2011 2:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Solar Power Plants In the Desert: Your Opinion?

Yup; this was what I was alluding to in my comments about efficiency/output/etc above...gotta get a whole lot better.